SAN ANTONIO — Years after attempting to complete a degree, Elizabeth Leal returned to college this fall to complete her bachelor’s degree in nursing from WGU Texas. “Making the decision to restart school … has been a difficult one,” she said. Her hesitation came from the uncertainty of whether it was financially feasible.
In November, WGU Texas presented Leal with a $2,000 Community College Partner Scholarship, awarded to partner community college graduates seeking a bachelor’s or master’s degree.
Leal grew up watching her mother care for patients as a hospice nurse and thought what she did was amazing. “I always looked up to my mom,” she said. “She was a super hero.” Her mother continued to work as a hospice nurse even after she was diagnosed with lung cancer. Leal looked forward to making her mother proud by following in her footsteps and becoming a nurse. When her mom’s best friend became her hospice nurse, she felt inspired by the selfless and caring qualities and knew she wanted to return to school to earn her nursing degree.
Leal works in the inpatient rehab unit at Methodist Texsan Hospital. When the hospital announced its intention to reach Magnet status, Leal saw an opportunity to finish what she started five years ago. “My short-term goals include joining a leadership role within my department,” she said. Earning a bachelor’s degree has been one of her personal goals and she is glad to be back on track. “Having a bachelor’s degree would definitely work in my favor.”
“Liz is a strong nurse with aspirations to continue to grow her role with our team,” said Pamela Kane, PT, Director of Rehabilitation Services. “We are very proud of her dedication to continue her education and appreciate the scholarship that will provide financial support as she continues her educational journey.”
Leal enrolled in WGU Texas’ nursing program and wants to earn a master’s degree in nursing after completing her bachelor’s. She credits her optimism for her successes and said the best way to get through tough times is keeping a positive attitude. “I am a believer in the idea that the path goes more smoothly if you are on the right one.”
The WGU Community College Partner Scholarship, valued up to $2,000, is available for partner community college graduates and staff looking to earn a WGU bachelor’s or master’s degree in information technology, business, teacher education, or healthcare. Applicants must have an associate degree from WGU or other institution and must first apply for admission. Learn more about the scholarship by visiting www.wgu.edu.